Time to introduce myself. I've been prowling around this site for a few months and have finally added a pic. He is Colonel Thomas Blood, a supposedly distant relative of mine and 1st class scoundrel. I use his name, as mine is sufficiently unusual to show up on a Google search. I am a nurse, and health care is rampant with xians. I am also an ordained clergy person and - well things are just a bit complicated right now. Folks who I don't want in the know, will not come snooping here on their own.

Enough intro: Here is the morsel for you to chew on. I have heard it expressed explicitly at least once, and implied by several of you that if one is an atheist, the is NO WAY that you could ever become sufficiently delusional to believe in a god. Well I was. Or did.

I grew up with a believing mother and an atheist father. We never went to church and my religious training was minimal (one year of a generic protestant Sunday school). I was atheist by age 15. I was always fascinated by xians however, especially the really confident kind. Long story short; over several years I developed and pursued the hypothesis that the only way I could be sure that there was no god was to diligently seek him. This led me on multiple pathways until I wound up in a fundamentalist country church one night where I was invited to "come to Jesus" Multiple threads in my life had brought me to the place where I was able to suspend my skepticism enough to accept the possibility of this being real. When I stood up, the world changed. The event and my theories about would take another blog.

The result of this "encounter " was that I became a fundamentalist xian .  My lack of religious upbringing actually worked against me as I had no framework for my new life, only that "reason" had failed as method for finding the TRUTH.  Over the course of decades my inquiring mind kept pushing me into ever more "liberal" understandings of God until I finally realized that my theology had become "Jesus as metaphor" and that I no longer needed the metaphor.

So here I am, full circle again. The experience has not been a complete waste of my life (Thank GOD!!!). I have a very full, hands on type of understanding of religious faith and have first hand knowledge of many of the different flavors of belief. I find many of you off-putting. You can be so bloody sanctimonious sometimes, as if all people of faith were idiots. I am sure I actually had more IQ points when I was religious than I do how. But I DO understand how you feel. I sometimes have to stop myself from thinking "How can anyone BELIEVE that crap?" when it was not so long ago that I did in fact believe it myself.

I've rattled on long enough. Have at it!

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I recently watched 'The Matrix' again last night. Even after my first view of the movie in 1999, I always wondered why that transition point into wonderland involved a pill?

Within a year of the movie's release, the OSU campus Christian student group had a showing of the movie as a means to reach new recruits. They were promoting the film as a means to show that the present reality, that for them was against Christ, was a good metephor for that return to Christ as the true reality. Most of my friends in the Philosophy department did not attend, with the thought that it was just another 'come-on' and 'misuse', similar to the 'debates' promoted over the course of a few years.

Sadly a few profs from the Philosophy department took up the 'debate' challenge, falling into a game plan where the agreed upon 'rules' were thrown out and replaced with a insipid monologe so the attended trolls can root for their team. I remember getting up during one of these 'debates', and speeking rather loudly, 'I do hope this improves sooner or latter, have at it!'.

If I have taken, metaphorically, the 'red pill', I must have cut it into rather small pieces, then dosed myself over the course of atleast 30 years. It is unclear if it is a slow acting poisen, or another 'tool' to open ones eyes or perception. I have a feeling that the walls of this culture have become porous, and the concept of 'god' seems more like a bad joke, where to survive, I must atleast give the walls some lip service and humor my friends in their rather limited view. When I am away from the crowd, I can honor the wonder of being, and touch the more open minds that cross my path.

Sadly this slow doseing has not offered me the ability to fly or even to write better code, but I do, at times see an overlay of immense complexity when I look at the world. I find no 'god' looking back through the multiplicity, but more than once I have been touched enough to cry.

I have found no 'ex-atheists' so far, but I expect that they would be artifacts of an orbit through life where the bitterness of lose is rather unbarable. Religion seems to offer some respite from the unsettledness of life, but I expect that it would be short lived without fanaticism.  

your brother in law is great. I see so much of that. Easter bunny type stuff. It is hard not to get sucked into stuff.

"How is religion a "need"? What is impossible without religion? Answer the question. Be specific."

A couple of reasons are that its needed to foster security and to relieve anxiety and depression in humans. They need something to blame for when humans turn mad and do ugly things to each other. They need it like medicine because it works like medicine. It helps them get up tomorrow. Why do you want to take this medicine away from them?

Whats the secular solution? Talking? Astrophysics? Richard Dawkins? Whats your solution Gallup? Maybe you think that discovering another planet will help humans deal with their suffering.

You tell me ....

and please dont respond with something inane like God burns witches or similar ....

ASJ - I agree, there's nothing wrong with alternative methods.  Atheism works for some people; religion works for others; a mixture of two things is always fruitful in my opinion. 

I know you aren't talking to me, but I can say that I don't want to take away anybody's "medicine."  I want them to stop trying to get me to take it, trying to teach it to children in public schools, and enacting it into law for believers and non-believers alike.  

 

H Diane

"I know you aren't talking to me, but I can say that I don't want to take away anybody's "medicine."  I want them to stop trying to get me to take it, trying to teach it to children in public schools, and enacting it into law for believers and non-believers alike."  

I'm all for school chaplaincy Diane because I think that school chaplaincy reaches the disadvantaged child.

It's not for the child who is loved by parents who nurture their childs emotions and care about the childs well being. I believe that school chaplaincy is there to maybe identify and reach out to the neglected and abused child - that they are loved - despite their unfortunate parents and homelife.

and since I think that too many children are raised in dysfunctional and abusive homes - then the more that religion is needed. Bring on the school chaplains.

Good parents have nothing to worry about with religion in schools.  Allow it to be introduced as medicine for the invisible abused ones.

It doesn't belong in public schools, period, not in the U.S. anyway.  I get what you are saying but I do not trust "religion" with anybody's welfare, especially the most disadvantaged and needy.  My mother was one of the "invisible abused ones."  by whom was she being abused, you ask?  By her alcoholic, southern Baptist lay-preacher father.  Many of us who distrust religion have a good reason for it.  I was raised as an atheist because of the actions of Christians.

The Scientologists claim they are helping people but clearly they are taking advantage of people.  I see little difference between Scientology and any other "religion."  

Bring on the school chaplains all you want in your country, but not in mine. I understand that there are good religious practitioners and that people can be helped, but those same people can be helped by secular means.  

 

'but those same people can be helped by secular means.'  

this is where I have a problem - what are the secualr means? I keep asking teachers here in Australia how they are teaching empathy and what is the model that they use .... Guess what? they dont have one - they think thay can talk a person into becoming empathic - its a joke.

 

It is still better than trying to teach them empathy by threatening them with hellfire .

 

 and if I can just add - who's got time to wait for the secular community to catch up to Jesus with their own version of empathy when Jesus has already had a 2000 year head start at it. You can't re invent the wheel.

 

 

 

 

"You can't re invent the wheel."

And Buddha had a few hundred years head start on Jesus. Do you then think we should use Buddhism to teach children empathy? After all Christianity tried to reinvent the wheel there.

Or how about Jainism, that is even older than Buddhism and teaches extreme empathy for all living things. So much so that it leaves Christianity far in its dust on that issue.

Besides, Jesus never taught me a damn thing about empathy.  Catch up to Jesus?  I hope the secular community never does.  I am not very impressed with what Jesus allegedly has to offer.  

One of my daughters learned empathy by, among other things, going from our well-off American town to Honduras to help them work on a school.  This had nothing to do with a church, but is a direct effort on the part of our school to teach our children to be of service to people who need it.  Did they demand those children worship them or anybody else?  No.  There's an example of secular means to teach empathy.

My other daughter learned empathy by suffering herself with chronic pain and illness.  She is now in nursing school and, I have no doubt, will make a compassionate, caring nurse.  What did she learn from her hypocritical, abusive step-mother who took her to fundamentalist Christian churches?  She learned that people lie, hurt others, steal, and hide behind Jesus.  Her step-mother told her she was possessed.  Either I and my family have had the misfortune of running into every evil. whackjob Christian out there, or there are a lot of Christians out there who are way off the mark.

 

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